Lets face it, it seems like every time you go on Facebook somebody new has either gotten engaged, gotten married or had a baby. Hundreds of people show their support by giving it a ‘like’ or leaving a comment. In the same way, I see a lot of articles that are for married couples, single people or maybe those who are engaged. But what about the rest of who don’t blow up your newsfeed because we are only, dare I say it, dating.
Maybe when we get engaged people will start to show their support or give us some godly direction about relationships. But until then, it seems as though we are on our own to figure out this whole relationship thing. I’ve never been married or engaged, so it wouldn’t make sense to give advice about how marriage should work. But with God leading, and us intentionally seeking out older couples for advice, my girlfriend and I have learned a few things about pre-marriage, pre-engagement, dating.
1.) BE INTENTIONAL
This is a favorite piece of advice that the church loves to give to single people, which honestly can get a little extreme. I need to know if she’s “the one” on the first date? Really? But it does have it’s place. If at any point throughout dating you don’t see it ending in marriage, then be honest with yourself and with that person. It’s not fair to keep leading someone on when you plan on just breaking it off whenever you get bored of them.
2.) COMMIT TO PURITY
Yes, it’s true, Christians can be a little old school when it comes to gettin busy. But with good reason, further than “because the bible tells me so”. Studies show that those who wait to have sex until marriage have a significantly lower risk of divorce and even a better sex life. I guess it really is worth the wait. Don’t believe me? Look it up!
3.) WEED OUT SINS
Certainly we should always be doing this, but I think especially when you’re looking to be able to properly love someone for the rest of your life. By weeding out, I don’t mean ridding it at the surface, but rather getting to the root of the issue. Sure we can cover up a sin for a while or submerge it so it doesn’t get in the way of our new relationship. But it always seems to come back doesn’t it? You can hide your anger problems for a while or your addictions because of your love for your girlfriend or boyfriend. (Sorry if I dropped the “L” word prematurely for someone reading this). But it’s hard for me to believe those tendencies won’t grow back further in the relationship or marriage. The only thing we can do is look to Jesus and fix our eyes on Him to truly overcome sin.
4.) DEVELOP GOOD HABITS
Far too often, I hear people say they will change, start doing something or stop doing something “once they are married”. I guess I can’t say for sure, but I don’t know that there is anything magical about marriage that makes it easier to change. Yes, some things wouldn’t be appropriate to start doing until marriage, but some are. We should start developing those good habits now. Start trying to selflessly serve your boyfriend or girlfriend now. Start sharing what God is teaching you now. Start praying for one another now. (I’ve heard those that pray together, lay together. I don’t buy it). We shouldn’t wait until we say “I do” to begin refining ourselves to become a better husband or wife.
5.) WORK THROUGH PASTS
This was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Use your own judgement when you think you have enough trust and know you’re getting married before you dive into this. I don’t think telling someone your whole sexual history on a first date is the best idea. But when you’re ready, work through these things so that you’re not blindsided 5 years into marriage or after getting engaged. Get everything out on the table. This limits what the devil can use to try and tear you apart.
Once everything is out, you need to start praying for healing and learn to forgive yourself, your boyfriend/girlfriend and the other guys or girls in your pasts. Maybe neither of you have a past. That is amazing, praise God for that. But a lot of you will and this will be hard. But I hope you think the other person is worth fighting for. Guys, you may not be slaying dragons and rescuing your woman from a burning tower. But don’t think that the spiritual warfare around this is any less serious.